The St. Louis Blues have had some good luck and some bad regarding bringing prospects up when they are young. The most notable recent case has some hopeful that a new name might live up to that.
The St. Louis Blues have injury problems and the 2017-18 season has not even begun. So, we will never know if any of the prospects that make the team to start the year would have made it on their own merits.
Still, there are enough guys that are healthy to know any prospects that play on the top two lines will have earned it. Enter Samuel Blais.
Blais has been someone who seems to have grabbed the brass ring and has no intention of letting it go. There is still time for the Blues to take a turn and go a different direction, but right now it seems like Blais has made the team.
St. Louis only has one preseason game remaining before the team kicks off the season in Pittsburgh. So, there is one game and maybe a couple practices before we begin the year.
So, given the combination of his own play and earning his spot with the Blues injuries, it seems as though Blais is on the team.
Jeremy Rutherford was attending one of the weekend practices and Blais is still on one of the top lines.
Blais has played in every Blues preseason game except one, prior to playing Washington. He has been on one of the top two lines just about every game as well.
His preseason stats have not been jaw dropping. They are respectable though, very respectable. He has two goals and three points in six games.
Additionally, he seems to have formed a pretty good relationship with Brayden Schenn. You cannot discount the idea of chemistry, especially if a young player has it with a veteran that the team expects to produce.
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We saw this a couple years ago with Robby Fabbri. Fabbri made his case to make the team, forced his way into a top-six type role and the rest is history. He ended up with 18 goals that season.
Now the question is, assuming he stays right where he’s at, if Blais can do the same. The fact that Fabbri is hurt has nothing to do with this conversation. Blais may very well have made the team even if Fabbri was on the team and the two might be playing together.
Vladimir Sobotka is currently penciled in as the opposite wing on that line, so you figure you slip Fabbri into the spot if healthy. As stated, we’ll never know.
What we do know is Blais is consistent. He didn’t have the publicity behind him that other guys did, but he is not coming out of nowhere.
Blais scored 26 goals in the AHL last season. Prior to that, he scored 82 points in two consecutive seasons in junior – 34 and 33 goals respectively. In comparison, Fabbri had 45 and 25 goals in junior prior to becoming a pro.
They play a similar game and are a similar size as well. Blais and Fabbri are both listed at 5’10. Blais is a slightly smaller build, so he needs to bulk up over his career but it did not hold Fabbri back in his rookie season.
Of course, fans are hoping Blais can replace some of Fabbri’s lost production. Though the youngster has yet to score 20 goals in an NHL season, the team was looking to him to be one of their top scorers.
That is unnecessary pressure on Blais, but part of the Blues reality. Missing so many players, they will have to rely on him, as well as many others, in a sort of score by committee roster.
The promising thing is he has shown no signs of the lights being too bright yet. That is a huge jump out of the starting blocks.
If you can just go out there and play your game, not focusing on the “wow, I’m in the NHL” aspect, you’re miles ahead of the competition.
Who knows how Blais’ season will pan out. Maybe he gets sent down as soon as anyone is healthy. Or, maybe he stays with the team the entire year and gets 10-15 goals.
Without any prior experience to go by, it is hard to predict accurately. What he’s shown so far leads one to believe that he intends to follow the same path as Fabbri did in his rookie campaign.